Saturday, May 22, 2010

Stab Wounds From Surgery

Recovering from multiple stab wounds is harder than I thought it would be. The pain is constant, and I have to take Vicodine every six hours so I can bear to be awake. The days after the incident are tougher than the last, as my body tries to heal itself. This is the story of how I got those stab wounds.

On Friday morning I woke up extremely parched. Drinking water before bed always does that to me, but I had no other choice. Thursday night marked the last time I could eat or drink anything before my surgery, and I had no idea when I would next be allowed to have food or water. That's why I ate lots of candy, and also an Oreo cookie which had become slightly soggy from Houston's humidity.

I had not slept well on Thursday night. This had less to do with the candy, and more to do with the supposedly caffeine-free sodas. I lay in bed, tossing and turning into the wee hours of the morning. All I could think was, "I have to get up in a few hours." A few hours later I woke up and laboriously looked around for clothes to wear. What does one wear to a surgery, anyway? I finally settled on my favorite shirt, a pretty, green paisley top, to wear over my gym shorts, since they were the easiest to wear over my bulky leg brace.

I tried to sleep in the car on the way to the surgery center, but my mind would not let me forget that it was only 15 minutes away. 15 minutes until the pre-op procedures. Then I was in the surgery center, signing papers handed to me by the lady behind the counter. She was very friendly, but with her tight smile, I inwardly questioned her sincerity.

After all the legal procedures had been taken care of, one of the nurses herded me into the Pre-Op room. A nurse came in with a gentle smile on her face and talked with me about which knee needed the surgery and she discussed everything that should happen in surgery. She asked for a sample for the standard pregnancy test, and then prepared me for my I.V. "What will be in the I.V.?" I asked, wanting to know exactly what was going in me. "Oh, just some medicine that your body needs," she said, vaguely, to my disappointment.

Before pushing the IV stand into the room, she took one last look into the hall, then glances at me sheepishly. "I just wanted to be sure the doctor wasn't monitoring me." A statement like this would normally be a cause of concern for me, but instead, I found myself chuckling inside. I found I could relate to her nervousness. Everything is harder when your boss is breathing down your neck.

She then tied a rubber cord around my arm, to try to expose the veins in my arm. "I'm sorry," she said, "The easiest veins are in your hand, but it'll hurt more." I assured her I would be fine, but as she pulled out what appeared to be a 2 inch long needle, I felt that familiar lurching in my stomach. I looked away quickly, and tried my best to breathe evenly. When it pierced my hand, I felt the urge to panic welling up inside my throat, but then I remembered to concentrate on breathing. "This is not a big deal" circled in my head, in the hopes that saying the words would make it true. And then it was over. She taped the needle down and encouraged me on my bravery. An infantile satisfaction crept into my smile. Yes, I had done incredibly well, hadn't I?

Then the anesthesiologist (thank you, spell check) entered the room and began speaking...with an accent. After he made a few jokes, I became convinced that he was definitely Eastern European. It's funny how different global regions have separate kinds of humor. His jocular manner put me at ease, and made it easier for my mind to wrap around the concept of my upcoming surgery. Then I asked what would be in my I.V. Maybe the anesthesiologist would let me know. "Just some medicine to make you sleepy," was his reply. Why wouldn't anyone be straight with me? I've watched E.R.; I've earned the right to know the names of drugs being pumped into my body!

Next the doctor came in for a few minutes, just long enough to set off my left leg with a marker. I always felt this was hilarious on T.V., although, when I really think about it, it is horrible that some people have lost limbs because the doctors weren't present enough to remember which one was which. I understand that they are busy, but I don't think that is a good excuse. This is one reason why I trust nurses more than doctors. Every time I spoke with a nurse, they were on top of their game, knowing my information, and which questions needed to be asked. They seemed very human in all their interactions, including those with one another. The doctor smiled, but seemed a little aloof, probably due to all of his other patients.

Then, after saying goodbye to my grandma and sister, I was wheeled away through the halls to the actual operating room. By now I had the hospital gown, cap, and grippy socks. I was in the wheelchair, so I didn't have to worry too much about people seeing my butt. The nurses were very nice about helping me keep my modesty. The inside of the operating room had a yellowish hue, and was more cluttered than I expected. I tried not to think that this room would be a perfect set for a horror movie. I tried even harder when they laid me down and stretched my arms out, palms down. Then they reached for straps to tie my arms down. A mask came out of nowhere, and covered my nose and mouth. Cool air flowed into my face. It felt a little like being force-fed, but I breathed evenly, and it

My leg was asleep. The mask was on my face, forcing that cool air down my throat again. I searched around with my eyes. I was still on the operating table. My vision was a little blurry. I could barely see the anesthesiologist walking away, leaving a couple nurses to monitor me. "You're okay, you just woke up," a nurse cooed. "My leg is asleep," I replied, because it was my left leg; was it supposed to be asleep? "That's just because of the position we had it in," reassured the nurse. I was shivering. The insides of my cheeks were raw. I pressed my tongue against my cheeks, careful to not bite it. I must have bit my cheeks during surgery.

The nurse helped me sit up. I was still shivering. "Just breathe," the nurse reminded me. I tried. It was as if my teeth were going to chatter, no matter what I did. Then I realized. "I'm not in the operating room." I remarked to the nurse. "No," she replied, "you're in the recovery room." The nurse chatted with me for a while. I think she was trying to distract me. After an undeterminable amount of time, they let my grandma and sister come in to see me.

Then the nurse helped me into a wheelchair, so I could go home. I looked down and noticed that my leg was yellow. That was probably iodine, or some other disinfectant, but it unsettled me, knowing that they did a lot while I was sleeping. I wish I could have watched them performing surgery. On T.V., of course, because otherwise I wouldn't be able to stand the blood.

Recovering from the surgery is harder than I thought it would be. My knee is very weak, and refuses to lift its own weight. I am doing exercises recommended by the doctor to help strengthen it. Please pray that my knee heals as soon as possible so I can get back to doing normal things.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

How Will I Cope Without My Crutches?

I am going into surgery tomorrow morning. "That's great", you say? I agree. It will be such a relief to have this bone chip out of my knee so that I can begin to heal. It's been difficult being unable to perform some of the most elementary tasks properly. Simple things like retrieving stuff from my room, going out to eat, and even taking a shower, are surprisingly difficult when I'm on crutches. To be perfectly honest though...

I am kinda going to miss being on crutches.

Believe it or not, there are both downsides and upsides to having a bone fragment lodged behind your knee cap. Sounds like it's time for a --da-da-da-daaaaah-- Pros and Cons list!

Pro: With the help of my crutches, the light switches are easier to reach from my bed.

Con: Lying down and getting comfortable in bed is not that easy with a leg brace.

Pro: Cute guy looks at me and shares an empathetic story to cheer me up.

Con: My leg brace leaves me rooted to the chair when he gets up and leaves.

Pro: Professors are really nice about postponing the finals for me.

Con: The strong pain killers make it really hard to study for said finals.

Pro: My sister is sweet and helps me get ready to go.

Con: She has to help me tie my shoes, something I cannot do, due to my leg brace.

Pro: I get the comfiest recliner in the house (pictured above) to rest my aching limb.

Con: While the couch does cushion my leg, it does little for the pain.

Pro: I get to sleep in late and watch as much TV as I want to, because I don't have to go to work.

Con: I could end up missing some very important end-of-the-year events for my students.

Pro: Not having to tidy up very much, because it is really difficult to clean on crutches.

Con: The guilty feeling I get when I can't clean up after my own messes.

Pro: Random people are sympathetic and express wishes for my well-being.

Con: People feel awkward about my injury and avert their eyes.

Pro: I can justify eating candy and ice-cream to make me feel better.

Con: Without the use of my left leg, it is very hard to do any exercises to burn off those calories.

I have gotten used to all of the pampering and attention that my loving family has shown me, and it will be difficult getting back into the swing of regular life and work, but all in all, I know that I will be relieved and grateful when I'll be able to do everything on my own again.

I'll be so glad when all the things on this list go away and everything returns to normal. --Except for eating candy and ice-cream...I might keep doing that...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Doctor Who Jewelry!!!

If there is something I love more than watching TV shows like Doctor Who, it is finding fan-based merchandise. I just found these beautiful pieces of jewelry created by Annabel Graham at

Two hearts for the two-hearted Time Lord <3>

Gorgeous cellphone charm

TARDIS pandora beads in bronze and silver

TARDIS bead on a pandora chain

A pendant that says
"Time is not a straight line, but a wibbly-wobbly ball of timey-wimey stuff"

And finally, a Time Lord with a Roman numeral 10 underneath
to show some love for the Tenth Doctor

I would love to buy them all, but mostly I just love to internet window shop.

It's a great feeling just knowing that there are fans who have gone so far as to create beautiful things like these pieces of jewelry.